Climate Smart Communities Certification Report

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bronze Certified

This is the Climate Smart Communities Certification Report of Buffalo, City (Erie). Buffalo, City (Erie) is a bronze certified Climate Smart Community.

Buffalo, City (Erie) was certified on September 26, 2019 with 181 points earned from 25 completed actions. Listed below is information regarding Buffalo, City (Erie)’s Climate Smart Communities efforts and materials associated with its certified actions.

The certification for Buffalo, City (Erie) will expire on August 31, 2024.

Contact Information

The designated Climate Smart Communities contact for Buffalo, City (Erie) is:

Name:Kelley St. John
Title/Position:Resiliency Grants Manager / Administration, Finance, Policy & Urban Affairs
Address:65 Niagara Square 509 City Hall
Buffalo, NY 14202

Actions Implemented

Each approved action and supporting documentation for which Buffalo, City (Erie) was approved for in 2019 appears below. Note: Standards for the actions below may have changed and the documentation listed may no longer satisfy requirements for that action.

  • 1. Build a climate-smart community.

    PE1 Action: CSC Task Force

    20 Points
    Bronze Mandatory Silver Mandatory

    Program Summary: Attached is a PDF containing Mayor Byron W. Brown's executive memorandum creating Buffalo's Climate Smart Community Task Force, the list of current Task Force members with affiliations, and documentation from the first two meetings.

    PE1 Action: CSC Coordinator

    10 Points
    Bronze Mandatory Silver Mandatory

    Program Summary: Mayor Brown's executive memorandum creating the Climate Smart Community Task Force for the City of Buffalo identifies Kelley St. John, Resiliency Grants Manager as the CSC Coordinator. Responsibilities and expectations of the role are outlined in the attached document.

    PE1 Action: National/Regional Climate Program

    3 Points

    Program Summary: Attached is an invoice for the City of Buffalo's membership dues to the United States Conference of Mayors. Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown became a signatory of the USCM Climate Protection Agreement in 2015, which supports achievement or surpassing of the Kyoto Protocol targets for the United States through coordinated local, State, and Federal government actions.

  • 3. Decrease energy use.

    PE3 Action: Government Building Energy Audits

    8 Points
    Bronze Priority Silver Priority

    Program Summary: The City of Buffalo completed ASHRAE Level-2 audits for two (2) of its largest municipal buildings, City Hall and Dillon Courthouse, between 2016-2017. These two buildings account for 15% of the total square-footage of all municipal buildings. The ASHRAE Level 2 audit reports are included. The Audit Inventory lists municipal buildings and their square footage.

  • 4. Shift to clean, renewable energy.

    PE4 Action: Renewable Energy Feasibility Studies

    3 Points

    Program Summary: The City of Buffalo collaborated with a University at Buffalo Graduate Studio from the School of Architecture and Planning in spring 2017 to conduct a site suitability analysis of potential vacant land and City buildings for siting ground mounted or rooftop solar PV. The final report is available here:

    PE4 Action: Solar Energy Installation

    20 Points

    Program Summary: There are 17 city-owned facilities that have solar PV arrays with a combined 255kW capacity. "Solar PV installations on City facilities" outlines existing Solar PV installations on City facilities, including capacity, incentives, and total project cost. A summary of the NY-SUN program participation, including financing and expected energy offset is included for the Tosh Collins Community Center and Cazenovia Park Ice Rink projects. Documentation regarding location, installation date, technology, system sizes and specifications, installer qualification, as well as purchase documents and notices from the utility is included in the solar facilities installations document.

  • 5. Use climate-smart materials management.

    PE5 Action: Government Solid Waste Audit

    2 Points

    Program Summary: In 2018, the City of Buffalo engaged MSW Consultants to perform a waste characterization study of municipal solid waste and single stream recycling for the single and multi-family residential and the commercial/industrial sectors. Basis for the audit was waste records; data collection was conducted through waste sorts and facility walk-throughs at the City's transfer station and materials recovery facility. The attached report documents the findings of the waste characterization study, specifically: - The total amount of waste and recyclables collected by the City of Buffalo’s curbside residential collection system, as well as commercial waste and recyclables collected by the City and private haulers; - The composition of disposed wastes and mixed recyclables (estimated) to identify opportunities for increasing diversion within the framework of the existing diversion goals; - Critical inputs and baseline recycling system data for the City’s CRA (to be completed in a subsequent phase).

    PE5 Action: Reuse Programs

    6 Points

    Program Summary: The City of Buffalo operates, and partners on a number of programs that focus on resource recovery. The attached documents describe these programs, and outline materials that are acceptable for contribution. Informational flyers distributed to residents and advertised online are attached, and available at

    PE5 Action: Recycling Program for Public Places & Events

    3 Points

    Program Summary: The City of Buffalo provides public place recycling along major corridors throughout the City, supported through Common Council funds and by community organizations. The receptacles are found on Hertel Avenue, Elmwood Avenue and Broadway Avenue, and follow 34 & More recycling program guidelines. The attached photo document shows a representative sample of these receptacles along Hertel Avenue. Pick-ups are scheduled weekly with regular commercial pick-up in the area. The City of Buffalo requires garbage and recycling totes at all special events. Recycling collection is offered at no cost, and garbage collection fees vary based on the number of pick-ups and the number of totes (see attachment, "Special Event Tote Request"). Staff in the Division of Refuse and Recycling manage the special event requests, and coordinates number of totes, drop-off/pick-up dates, and locations. Special events range from a few hours, to days, to full season offerings. The 2018 Annual Recycling Report (attached, page 5) indicates that the City placed recycling totes at 331 special events, and supported education at these events with the "Recycling Rangers" program. The attached photos show the special events receptacles in use at Food Truck Thursdays in Niagara Square, outside of Buffalo City Hall.

    PE5 Action: Waste Reduction Education Campaign

    2 Points

    Program Summary: The City of Buffalo performs waste reduction education campaigns multiple times throughout the year. Each year, the "Let's Do This!" recycling competition and the Environmental Champions Program occur, focusing on increasing recycling education and waste diversion rates in community Block Clubs and the Buffalo Public Schools, respectively. The attached documentation includes an informational brochure for each program. Additional information about the campaigns is available at:

    PE5 Action: Compost Bins for Residents

    2 Points

    Program Summary: The City of Buffalo has partnered in recent years with surrounding local governments and the WNY Stormwater Coalition on a rain barrel and compost bin sale. In 2019, the program offered two types of compost receptacles for purchase: 1) Earth Machine compost bin, 80 gallon capacity; 2) Kitchen scrap bucket, 57-ounce capacity, and with lid. These items were purchased in bulk by Erie County and offered at cost to residents for purchase, thereby transferring a savings to residents. The attached flyer describes the compost bins and costs. This year, 51 City of Buffalo residents purchased compost receptacles. New for 2019, the City of Buffalo is offering free food scrap kitchen collectors as part of its expanded food scraps drop-off program. The first 250 residents at each of the five (5) drop-off locations will receive a kitchen collector; 135 have been distributed, to date. More information about this opportunity is available at:

    PE5 Action: Residential Organic Waste Program

    10 Points

    Program Summary: The attached document describes the City of Buffalo's residential organic waste program, including services for yard waste, curbside or drop-off, and food waste drop-off. This information is also found in the 2018 Annual Recycling Report, pages 3, 5, and 7. Additional informational, educational, and marketing materials are included in the additional attachments and are found at the City's recycling website:

  • 6. Implement climate-smart land use.

    PE6 Action: Smart Growth Policies

    8 Points

    Program Summary: In January 2017, Mayor Byron W. Brown signed the Buffalo Green Code Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) into law. The Green Code UDO represents the first major overhaul to City zoning law since 1953 and serves as the City’s blueprint for zoning and development in the 21st Century. The Common Council unanimously approved the Green Code in December 2016. The Green Code UDO is Chapter 496 of the City Code, available at: The Green Code UDO incorporates Smart Growth Principles as outlined in the attached document. The City maintains a webpage with resources for utilizing the UDO: The Buffalo Green Code zoning map is available for public viewing and use via the City's OpenData Buffalo portal:

    PE6 Action: Policies for Local Food Systems

    4 Points

    Program Summary: The Buffalo Green Code Unified Development Ordinance, adopted into law by Mayor Byron W. Brown in 2017, establishes and outlines market gardens (urban agriculture) and community gardens (6-17), and farmer's markets (6-33) as permissible land uses within the City of Buffalo, as demonstrated by the attached. The complete UDO is available for viewing online:

    PE6 Action: Green Parking Lot Policies

    4 Points

    Program Summary: The Buffalo Green Code Unified Development Ordinance, adopted into law by Mayor Byron W. Brown in 2017, incorporates the following green parking lot standards: - eliminates of minimum parking requirements (8-5) - increases tree plantings in parking areas, to reduce heat island effect and support stormwater management (7-4 to 7-9) - incorporates stormwater management on site in parking lots (7-4 to 7-13) - incentives the use of alternative parking surface materials (2-15) The complete UDO is available for viewing online:

    PE6 Action: Complete Streets Policy

    4 Points
    Bronze Priority Silver Priority

    Program Summary: The City of Buffalo was the first municipality in New York State to adopt a Complete Streets Policy, passed by the Common Council on May 27, 2008, effective as of June 11, 2008 (see attached). The attached document is record of Common Council's approval of the Charter amendment. The Complete Streets Policy is available in the City Charter here: The Policy includes definitions; implementation and execution guidelines; and facilities planning, design, and maintenance requirements.

    PE6 Action: Infrastructure for Biking and Walking

    15 Points

    Program Summary: The City of Buffalo Bicycle Master Plan Update, completed in 2016, demonstrates the City's active commitment to planning for and implementing bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The Buffalo Green Code Unified Development Ordinance, adopted in 2017, outlines requirements for bicycle parking and related signage (8-2 to 8-5), and enforces bicycle facilities improvements and related signage (10-8). Since 2006, the City of Buffalo has installed more than 100 miles of bicycling facilities - ranging from sharrows to cycle track to dedicated lanes - as demonstrated by the Bicycle Facilities Master List. The City continues to enhance its bicycle facility network in accordance with the Buffalo Bicycle Master Plan Update. Construction continues on the Niagara Street Gateway project, which will introduce Buffalo’s first on-street, separated cycle track. A second cycle track project on Buffalo’s Main Street is currently in the design phase. Both projects include curb ramp and sidewalk enhancements plus upgraded pedestrian signals with count down timers. Additional bicycle parking is also being incorporated into both projects. Both projects are outlined in Chapter 4, "Catalyst Projects" of the Bicycle Master Plan. Reddy bikeshare is a bike sharing mobility program that operates throughout the City of Buffalo. The City is an active participant in the permitting process for the Reddybike docking facility locations. Reddybike provides five different membership options for accessing the fleet of about 200 bicycles at more than 40 docking locations.

    PE6 Action: Alternative-fuel Infrastructure

    18 Points
    Bronze Priority Silver Priority

    Program Summary: The City of Buffalo has installed 16 electric vehicle charging stations throughout the eight City-owned public parking ramps in the City of Buffalo (see attached). This infrastructure is available for public use during the hours of operation of each ramp. The parking ramps are managed by Buffalo Civic Auto Ramp (BCAR), who have an electric vehicle charging station usage policy, publicly-available at: In 2018, BCAR reported that demand for EV charging stations was beginning to outweigh supply, and administered a user survey to guide future planning efforts. The survey is available at:

    PE6 Action: Local Forestry Program

    8 Points

    Program Summary: The City of Buffalo completed a city-wide Tree Canopy Analysis in 2018 as part of the Rain Check Buffalo green infrastructure initiative. The Rain Check 2.0 Report details how results from the tree canopy analysis are incorporated into the initiative, available for viewing online at: Complimentary to the analysis is a city-wide street tree inventory, available online at: The City Code enacts tree preservation in Section 309-8, "Public Parks" and Chapter 467, "Trees, Shrubs, and Plants," detailing requirements for annual tree plantings by City contract, and plantings as part of all publicly-funded streetscape projects. Article 7, "Site Development" of the Buffalo Green Code Unified Development Ordinance describes requirements for site landscape, tree conservation, and street trees (pages 7-3 to 7-4) specific to "[A]ll development that involves new construction of a principal structure, expansion of an existing principal building by 2,500 square feet or more, or new construction or reconstruction of a parking lot, or expansion of a parking lot by 20 or more spaces..." The City's local forestry programs and tree planting efforts include the Re-Tree WNY initiative, and Tree City USA, as described in the attached document. The Tree City USA member community directory for New York State is also available online: Additional resources for tree plantings in the City of Buffalo are available from the Bureau of Forestry's webpage:

    PE6 Action: Zoning for Protection of Natural Areas

    6 Points

    Program Summary: The Buffalo Green Code Unified Development Ordinance, adopted into law by Mayor Byron W. Brown in 2017, preserves and protects natural open space within the City of Buffalo, most notably conserving important land along Buffalo's Outer Harbor and the extensive Olmstead Parks System. The complete UDO is available for viewing online: The Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan, adopted in 2018 and approved by the State in 2019, includes a natural resource inventory of parks, wetlands, flood plains, and riparian environments throughout the City of Buffalo, including waterways and water bodies. The LWRP is available for viewing online:

  • 7. Enhance community resilience to climate change.

    PE7 Action: Watershed-based Flood Mitigation Plan

    4 Points

    Program Summary: Buffalo's Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP), adopted 2018 and approved 2019, includes a watershed assessment identifying areas vulnerable to water quality or quantity problems (pages 101-127). The Niagara River Watershed Management Plan is a regional watershed assessment document that identifies areas vulnerable to flooding, erosion, and/or water quality or quantity problems (pages 2-1 to 2-25). The Buffalo Sewer Authority Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) outlines specific priority projects for improvement of water quality through reduction of CSO events (pages 12-1 to 12-26).

    PE7 Action: Riparian Buffers

    4 Points

    Program Summary: The Buffalo Green Code Unified Development Ordinance (2017) incorporates waterfront buffer protection into the City's zoning and land use regulation (pages 5-7 to 5-10). The Niagara River Remedial Action Plan (2012) identifies and prioritizes sites for restoration of floodplains, and conservation or re-vegetation of buffers (pages 15, 28). Buffalo's Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (2018) includes an inventory and assessment of floodplain and riparian areas, with identification and prioritization of sites for conservation, restoration and re-connection of floodplains, and conservation or re-vegetation of buffers (pages 101-127).

    PE7 Action: Conserve Natural Areas

    8 Points

    Program Summary: Tifft Nature Preserve, and Times Beach Nature Preserve on the Outer Harbor, are two habitat areas in the City of Buffalo that are conserved as such according to priority use identified in the City's Green Code and Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan. The Buffalo Green Code Land Use Plan provides zoning code maps that correspond to definitions provided in the UDO, identifying areas of the city held to standards for zones C-W and D-ON (99-117). The Buffalo Green Code Unified Development Ordinance highlight defines land use restrictions in the areas zoned as C-W, Waterfront and D-ON, Natural for ecological conservation and restoration, with special requirements for the Outer Harbor (4-39 to 4-42, 5-7 to 5-10). The Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan includes an inventory and assessment of natural resources located in the local waterfront revitalization area highlights the importance of the habitat provided by these sites, among many others (Section VIII).

  • 8. Support a green innovation economy.

    PE8 Action: Farmers’ Markets

    3 Points

    Program Summary: For 2019, the City of Buffalo is supporting four public farmer's markets by issuing Special Event Permits for the use of public property and to provide sanitation services. The fees for special events are outlined in the attached Fee Schedule. These four markets include: Elmwood Village; MAP Mobile Market; North Buffalo; and South Buffalo (see attached permit application approvals).

    PE8 Action: Brownfield Clean-up & Redevelopment

    6 Points

    Program Summary: The Buffalo Green Code Land Use Plan prioritizes brownfield redevelopment as a strategy for economic development and an opportunity to repair the natural environment. The Land Use Plan incorporates four (4) Brownfield Opportunity Area plans that support economic growth and emphasize environmental restoration. The Brownfield Opportunity Area Plans consist of four redevelopment strategies: Buffalo Harbor, Buffalo River Corridor, South Buffalo, and Tonawanda Street Corridor. The BOAs include several sites that that have significant prospects for redevelopment despite environmental challenges. The studies provide in-depth analyses of these areas and identify strategic sites that are ready for investment. Below are links to each of the documents: Buffalo Harbor - Buffalo River Corridor - South Buffalo - Tonawanda Street Corridor - RiverBend Commerce Park, the former Republic Steel site within the South Buffalo BOA, demonstrates the completion of brownfield clean-up activities, and the siting of new green industry facilities. A description of the site and clean-up activities is included in the RiverBend Master Plan. In 2018, the SolarCity Gigafactory began production in Buffalo, manufacturing photovoltaic (PV) cells on a portion of the remediated steel mill land at RiverBend. Most recently, the City completed clean-up and remediation work, and new industry siting at 683 Northland Ave, a brownfield site within the Northland Beltline opportunity neighborhood. The Certificate of Completion, CoC Fact Sheet, and projects progress map document the completed and ongoing efforts in the Beltline area of the City.